It is easy to forget that a home is there to serve us and not the other way around. We get so caught up in paying the mortgage, and keeping the lawn, and making repairs that we lose sight of the needs of the people occupying the house.
One of those often overlooked needs is mobility. The typical home can be a challenging obstacle course for the mobility impaired. According to the CDC, 16.1% of US adults have a physical functioning difficulty.
You should realize that statistic does not represent a static set of people. We fluidly move in and out of that group depending on our circumstances. A perfectly healthy person might suffer a sports injury and temporarily find themselves unable to move about the home as well as they once did. Many of us will age into that group.
The point is that you don’t have to be born with a disease to find yourself among the people experiencing some sort of mobility dysfunction. Here are a few tips to help keep your house from becoming an obstacle course for those occupants who are, or might become functionally challenged:
You don’t have to be in a wheelchair for stairs to be a challenge. Bad knees, a sore back, or that nagging sciatica can make the prospect of climbing the stairs rather daunting. If you have knees that tend to buckle or a back that sometimes goes out on you, A lift chair for the stairs solves this problem
An even bigger challenge for joint sufferers in the home is getting in and out of chairs. Lift assist chairs are designed with this in mind. They not only help a person get in and out of a sitting position with less strain to the joints, they also allow a person to lie flat while maintaining proper back support.
You should not wait till you can’t get up the stairs or get in and out of chairs before doing something about the pain. Cartilage doesn’t grow back. So you should do something about it at the first sign of deterioration.
Try Focused Relaxation
When you are having trouble with your muscles and bones, it helps to relax them. But general relaxation only goes so far. There are more specific things you can do that will bring you more benefit.
A hot bath can do wonders for the lower back. Just be careful not to get it too hot. That can cause the heart to race and create more stress and tension. You don’t want to get the water too cold for obvious reasons.
Another focused relaxation method is massage. You don’t have to hire an in-home masseuse to get the job done. You can get one of the many great back and neck massagers that you can apply yourself.
If you don’t want to get a contraption that looks like a medieval torture device, you can get massage chairs that are indistinguishable from any other piece of furniture. The same goes for lift chairs, as standing and sitting can be just as painful to some as climbing stairs is to others.
Create More Space
When a person finds themselves unexpectedly in a wheelchair or crutches, or some other mobility aid, their once inviting home suddenly becomes a dangerous, if not impassable, obstacle course.
What is needed are clear paths connecting key places like the front door and the bedroom, the bathroom, and the kitchen. Creating pathways involves pushing accessory tables to the edges of the room, if not eliminating them altogether. Eliminate throw rugs as they can be tripping hazards.
You can also make things more accessible by minding where you place commonly used items like remote controls. Install one or two outlets in high-demand areas that are higher off the floor so that a person does not have to bend down so far to use them. And make sure all bathrooms have grab handles and safety rails.
Making the home more friendly to people with mobility challenges is good for everyone. No one is made less safe with stair lifts, focused relaxation furniture, less clutter, and handrails in the bathroom. There is no downside to a more mobility inclusive home. And it ensures that your home will work for you regardless of the circumstance you face along the way.